Simon McWilliams


b. 1970, Belfast

Simon McWilliams was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland and trained at the University of Ulster followed by the Royal Academy School in London. His chosen subject matter is primarily urban architecture, especially large construction sites which he interprets with a wild exuberance of colour. In keeping with his structural interests, McWilliams also paints botanical greenhouses, from both the exterior and within, as well as over sized staircases and wrought iron constructions.

Taking his immediate urban surroundings as his subject matter, through superb draughtsmanship and richly textured layers of paint, McWilliams produces images that carry the conviction of an observed vision but which are in fact the creation of an imagined place. They are attractive abstractions that reveal the artist’s relationship with the places that fascinate him. They are also paintings that see the coming together of both abstract and figurative elements where vibrant, impasto colour and surface combine to suggest mood and atmosphere.

What is perhaps most engaging about McWilliams’ artwork in his unique vision. Dust clouds created by the construction upheaval wrap around the vast scaffolding, taking a typically ominous spectacle and injecting it with a rainbow of impressive shades. Victorian palm houses burst with growth, an abundance of exotic plants and organic shapes stretching upwards towards the cast iron structure overhead. McWilliams manages to capture large, emotionless structures, transforming them into things of beauty and surrounded by a kind of grand chaos that is both beautiful and dizzying.

McWilliams is represented in various public and private collections including: The Ulster Museum, Bank of Ireland, ESB and Queens University Belfast.